Originally from New Jersey, Shallaya discovered she was pregnant while living at a single women’s shelter in Harlem. “I’m new to New York, so I wasn’t sure how to do things,” she explained. “So I had to start from scratch.”
After entering Prospect Family Residence in 2018, Shallaya, then 23 and pregnant with her first child, worked with her Employment Specialist to obtain a paid job opportunity through the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP). Once her daughter was born, Shallaya made use of Prospect’s in-house childcare, which allowed her to focus on securing permanent housing for herself and her newborn daughter. Shallaya also opted to voluntarily participate in Camelot, a drug abuse prevention program, and Babies & Brunch, an initiative intended to foster community and support for new mothers.
With the support of Family Services staff, Shallaya and her daugher moved into an apartment of their own in Brooklyn in June of 2019.
SHALLAYA AND HER DAUGHTER’S JOURNEY
A week after moving into her apartment, she took the time to speak with Dorothea Nixon, Program Operations Associate, about her and her daughter’s time at Prospect.
CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE AT PROSPECT?
I wouldn’t change anything because you live and you learn. I had to learn a lot while I was here and I learned a lot while I was pregnant. It’s teamwork. As long as you, the individual, the resident, are doing your part, you know the workers will make sure you’re on top.
WHAT WAS HELPFUL ABOUT PROSPECT’S CHILDCARE FOR YOU AS A MOM?
I would say the convenience of it. I just had to take the elevator downstairs to come and pick her up. And of course, as long as all of us communicated, we were always flexible. Everything was always convenient and just very helpful. Even now, sometimes if I ask and you can help, you all help.
HOW ARE YOU FEELING NOW?
I’m just – I’m happy. I’m happy that we’re out of the shelter before she [her daughter] understands certain things and I’m happy that she’s progressing very well. She’s trying to walk, she’s trying to use the bars on the crib to help her walk. Now that she has an area she can run around, she can learn to walk.